Understanding the academic year

The importance of understanding the academic year and specific circumstances which make you a new or continuing student, is to make sure you:

  • complete the correct forms; and
  • receive the correct funding

Completing the wrong forms can lead to delays in your student finance being paid.

Which academic year are you?

The academic year which applies to you, depends on your course start date for that year.

You’ll be in academic year 2019/20 if your course starts between::

  • 1 August 2019 – 31 July 2020

You’ll be in academic year 2018/19 if your course starts between::

  • 1 August 2018 – 31 July 2019

Check with your university or college if you’re unsure which academic year you fall under.

When the academic year starts and ends

There are four official start dates in each academic year with each lasting 12 months. You can find the one which applies to you based on:

  • which academic year you fall under; and
  • your course start date.
If your course starts between:Your academic year will run from:

1 August – 31 December

1 September – 31 August

1 January – 31 March

1 January – 31 December

1 April – 30 June

1 April – 31 March

1 July– 31 July

1 July – 30 June

For the majority of students, each academic year will run from 1 September – 31 August. However, if your course starts later in the academic year, be mindful of this when completing any forms. For example:

  • a course starting on 10 April 2018 will be within the 2018/19 academic year running from 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019.

Check with your university or college if you’re unsure about your course start date.

Circumstances around new and continuing students

In most cases it’s easy to identify yourself as being a new or continuing student. However, there are circumstances which need to be clarified so you find the correct information and forms.

You’ll be classed as a new student if you:

  • are starting a part-time Initial Teacher Education (ITE) course which lasts less than 2 years, for example, a PGCE course on or after 1 August 2019
  • have changed your course from full-time to part-time (mode of study change)
  • have withdrawn from your most recent course

You’ll be classed as a continuing student if you:

  • have taken a break from your course (not withdrawn) and are returning within two academic years
  • have completed a lower level qualification (HNC, HND, CertHE, DipHE, Foundation Degree or ordinary degree without Honours) as a part-time student and are going on to an Honours degree part-time without a break in studies. This is known as an end on course.

If you’re unsure about the forms to complete based on any of these or other circumstances, contact us to discuss this further.

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